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Full text of "Alexander von Humboldt"

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8                                             LOTJS  OF
paternal rights over the boys, it was the highminded**
ness of the lady which beneficially ruled the whole
household, and inspired an enthxisj antic lovo for hor
into the hearts of her children., whoBo education wan
hor el lief care.
Another intellectual influence was now brought to
boar on the two youths.    Since 1776 a physician had
lived in  Spamlati,  who   noon after  became   distrust
physician of the Havel district, and had an ojctontdvo
practice.    ThiB was Doctor Ernst Ludwig Hoim,
ttiuco become HO faxnouB as doctor and profeasor of tho
"University  of Berlin,    Probably  the "major's illnoBB
may have been tin** origin of his acquaintance with
the family; we know only that as doctor to tho family
of Hixinboldt and of the head rancor, Von BurpfNdorf,
who, as a royal official, had to live in Tegel, ho fre-
quently caine from Spandau to visit the noighbourinpf
castle and village.    He also conumitiicatcHl matiy of
his experiences of foreigxi trees and tho nxxrsing of
foreign plants to tho ranger, and made himsolf unoful
in the  laying out of the xmrsorioH and j>laixtotioixB
thoro.    His frccixiciiit visits to tho Hxnnboklt family
coiuuxencod in 1780, when lie entered into a noarw,
more ixxtimato friendship with, Knnth, tho txitor of the
hoxxsehold.    Those visits, which llcnm xxxado on UOTBO-
back3 and which generally brotiglit him, to tho dinner-
table of the majors widowy became of importance to
us in tho following year, when Hoim inatrxiotod the
two boy% "William and Alexander, in botany after
dinner, and explained to them tlxe twouty-foxir tJanttcm
of the Linnean systena.    An expression Hohu xxsed at
the tixne is remarkable, namely, that the oldw boy
easily comprehended these UJHSOUH, and retamed tho
botanical names, while Alexander, then eleven yuarw
of age, ;was of a lees intelligent natnro, a p
which was confirmed by tlxo anxiety which mother
and tutor at one time felt that Aloxandm* wmt not at
all fitted for study,
The brothers made short oxcxxrskms in tho neigh-
bourhood with the physiciaif Meixn ;   and we know